Stanford Faces Colorado In Battle For Tournament Bid: Game Preview


Jan 24, 2013; Boulder, CO, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Dwight Powell (33) drives past Colorado Buffaloes forward Andre Roberson (21) in the second half of the game at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Cardinal 75-54. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanford Cardinal (16-12, 6-7 Pac-12) face the Colorado Buffaloes (18-8, 7-6 Pac-12) at Maples Pavilion this evening.  Colorado is coming off of a 60-50 victory over Utah while the Stanford Cardinal are coming off of a disappointing 77-66 loss to the Oregon Ducks.

Currently, Colorado sits in sixth place in the Pac-12 while the Cardinal are in eighth out of 12 teams.  Both are fighting for NCAA tournament bids, although Stanford is on the outside looking in at this point, and will most likely need a little bit of luck to get into the ‘Big Dance’.

Leading the way for the Buffaloes is sophomore guard Spencier Dinwiddie.  He averages 15.3 points per game and is among four Buffaloes who are above the 10 points per game mark and above.  The others are Askia Booker (13.4 ppg), Josh Scott (11.4 ppg) and Andre Roberson (10.3 ppg).  Roberson also leads the team in rebounds per game with 11.8, which is also the best in the Pac-12 conference.  Actually, he leads the confrence in steals per game as well averaging 2.3 a game.  Other than him, however, the Buffaloes have struggled on the glass and if the Cardinal can neutralize Roberson they should be in good shape.

For the Cardinal it is all about the big men down low who have been doing it all season.  Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis have been incredible.  This season Powell is averaging 15.4 points per game, good for seventh in the conference.  His 8.3 rebounds per game are also top 10, notching in at eighth in the Pac-12.  Meanwhile Huestis is fourth in the conference at 9.6 rebounds per game and is also fourth in the conference at an even two blocks per game.

Also, guards Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright have been great as well.  Although Bright has been a bit off-and-on all season, when he plays well it usually turns out really well for Stanford.  Randle averages 13.7 points a game while Bright is at 8.7 a clip.  It has taken a while for the team to take shape, but they have looked good of late.  Unfortunately for their tournament hopes, and conference hopes as well, it might have been a little too late.

Like I said, if Stanford can neutralize Roberson on the boards then they should be in good shape with Powell and Huestis.  If they dominate down low it could be good even for their guards who love shooting the three-point shot.  Even though Colorado has a better record than the Cardinal, I would still say overall Stanford is the better team, as of late anyway.  I know the records might not show it but those are my thoughts.  My prediction?  Stanford takes the win 69-61.